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Published on January 29, 2006

Bone Density Scanning Now Available at Valley West

January 29, 2006

Marcia Wittke and Kim Larson stand next to the new Hologic© DEXA Bone Densitometer.

Marcia Wittke and Kim Larson
stand next to the new Hologic©
DEXA Bone Densitometer.

More than 43 million Americans are at risk for developing osteoporosis every year. A disease characterized by low bone mass and deterioration of bone tissue, osteoporosis leads to increased bone fragility and higher risk for fractures. The “silent disease,” it often goes undetected and patients are unaware of their condition until a bone has been broken. Nearly one out of two women and one of four men will suffer an osteoporotic fracture in their lifetime, accounting for 1.25 million hip, wrist and spine fractures every year.

Osteoporosis is a disease both preventable and treatable through Bone Mineral Density (BMD) tests. Valley West Community Hospital in Sandwich, part of the KishHealth System, now offers BMD tests in the form of the new Hologic© DEXA Bone Densitometers. Safe and accurate, the patient is able to lie comfortably on a padded table while the DEXA (dual energy x-ray absorptiometry) unit moves and scans the body, most commonly around the hip and spine, without requiring any injections or other invasive procedures. Bone Mineral Density is calculated and compared to statistic BMD values, and matched for age and sex, resulting in a patient’s T-score. “It was my first time at Valley West. I was able to see all the images from my scan, and the technicians did a thorough job of explaining to me what my T-scores meant,” says Barbara Baermann, after her recent DEXA scanning at Valley West Community Hospital. The DEXA scanning provides a sensible way for physicians to detect early bone loss, those who are at increased risk, and monitor the effectiveness of treatment.

Both men and women are at risk for developing osteoporosis. Risk factors for the development of osteoporosis include certain medications and other diseases, family history and patient lifestyle, including smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, insufficient amounts of calcium intake, or lack of or no weight-bearing exercise. The National Osteoporosis Foundation Guidelines suggest that men and women with one or more risk factors, and all women ages 65 or older, regardless of risk factors, should have a BMD test to identify individuals with osteoporosis and those who are at risk for developing the disease.

Technicians at Valley West Community Hospital are able to perform Axial Bone Density Testing, Peripheral Extremity and Vertebral Fracture Assessments. A physician’s order is required to schedule DEXA scanning and BMD testing at Valley West Community Hospital. Contact Diagnostic Imaging at (815) 786-3794.

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